Klopp invites Akinfenwa for Reds’ title parade

Liverpool’s future Premier League title parade after Jürgen Klopp fulfilled his request for a congratulatory WhatsApp message.

The Wycombe Wanderers striker – and huge Reds fan – called for contact from Klopp during an emotional post-match interview in the aftermath of his team’s League One play-off final win over Oxford United at Wembley on Monday night.

The boss duly responded and Akinfenwa posted the video message he received from Merseyside on social media.

On Tuesday, Klopp was asked when he’ll meet up with the forward and whether he had received a reply.

When it’s possible, in the future one day,” the manager said. “I don’t know when exactly but he is invited for the parade, 100 per cent!

“I saw, before the video, when he was sitting in the team meeting in a Liverpool kit which I thought was really funny! I watched the game last night [and] yes, he responded – he sent a video back. It’s private (what he said), at least a few things in life should stay private.

“It was nice, he was obviously really happy.”

Klopp went on to state how happy stories such as that of the 38-year-old Akinfenwa – who was without a club four years ago but can now look forward to his first opportunity to play at Championship level – make him.

He added, “It was just nice to see. Yesterday (Monday) before the game I was, to be 100 per cent honest, neither a Wycombe supporter or an Oxford supporter but Ben Woodburn plays for Oxford, so I was slightly more on the side of Oxford.”

“But I watched the game just because I wanted to see it and then when they won it, it’s just nice, you see how much it means to them. When you are involved, I don’t like the play-offs too much. I was (involved) in my life once or twice and the pressure is really incredible, it’s not a lot to do with enjoyment.

Dustin Brown discusses financial impact of exhibition tennis amid coronavirus pandemic

“The bills keep coming so these exhibitions keep popping up all over the place. I already played one in Germany and it’s great for the players to have some sort of income in Germany”

Dustin Brown has highlighted the importance of the financial help provided by safe exhibition tournaments amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Jamaican-German was recently part of Patrick Mouratoglou’s inaugural Ultimate Tennis Showdown, a unique short-format of the game designed to attract new and younger fan bases.

Tournaments have been cropping up around the world since the suspension of the ATP Tour, some evidently fairing better than others in regards to upholding safety measures. Novak Djokovic, in particular, has been subject to backlash after multiple players tested positive for COVID-19 after competing on the World No 1’s Adria Tour.

Prior to UTS Brown headlined the Tennis Point Exhibition Series held behind closed doors without fans, line judges, ballboys or handshakes in Germany at Base Tennis centre near Koblenz.

“I think for everyone it’s good that we can go out, I think certain countries are still under lockdown,” said Brown. “At the end of the day it’s also a job for us so not playing means you are not earning any money.null

“The bills keep coming though so these exhibitions keep popping up all over the place. I already played one in Germany and it’s great for the players to have some sort of income in Germany.

“A lot of players would have played Bundesliga, that got cancelled, that’s a big amount of money especially for guys that are 200th, 300th (in the world) that use this money year-round to plan for these tournaments and to see if they can take a coach to a Slam and all of that. All of that is gone.”

The ATP and WTA announced in May they would be holding talks with the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the four Grand Slam tournaments over a Player Relief Programme that would supply financial assistance to lower-ranked players affected by the pandemic.

Wimbledon has meanwhile pledged £10m to a total of 620 players following the tournament’s cancellation for the first time since World War Two.

“It’s essentially like a business,” he added. “A lot of businesses are struggling at this time and this is a great initiative that Patrick has started and all of the players that are here are very happy that they get to play competitively and then at the same time have fun.”

The decision to stage next month’s US Open in New York has drawn widespread criticism in light of the city’s rise in coronavirus cases.

While UTS was able to take place safely, Brown believes the task of hosting the US Open is a completely different challenge.

“It’s a little different from having 10 players to having 300 players so I think that’s the biggest issue,” he said.

“If you have that many people, plus all the guys here are pretty close, for me a flight from Cologne is maybe an hour, getting everyone to a different continent is a different situation

“There it’s not even so much about the site or playing tennis, it’s about getting everyone there and keeping everyone safe. So two different things.”

CDon’t forgot to follow on Twitter @lademark and Facebook @tucsmarcus.

Opinion: Arsenal Owe Their Fans Something To Celebrate This Season

The Gunners put away Norwich City in their latest victory on Wednesday night but the fans at the Emirates Stadium wouldn’t be smug if they asked for more from the club.

It’s been three years since Arsenal had anything worthwhile to celebrate with their fans in London and across the world. They have been far away from qualifying for the Champions League since the 10-2 demolition by Bayern Munich in the 2016/2017 season and also last lifted a major trophy, the English FA cup in that season.

Gone are the days of exciting Champions League nights are at the Emirates. The days of stunning solo runs from Theo Walcott and clinical finishing from Robin Van Persie is now a distant memory and not many people remember how Arsenal made the Champions League final in 2006.
More recently, the game against Olympiakos was an all time low and it was difficult to watch Arsenal being sent packing from the Europa League even for neutral fans. Such is how Arsenal has degenerated over the years and it remains to be seen how or when they will return to Europe in the near future. Nothing is settled as of yet as it is still possible for them to make the European places mathematically. The win against Norwich takes them up to seventh on the log but a win for either of Sheffield or their arch rivals, Totenham later today would see them return to eight on the table.

Their weak financial muscles only makes things more complicated for them going into the summer and they will struggle to attract any player in the next transfer window without a trophy to show for or at least a place in Europe’s second division tournament.

Keeping Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang beyond this season also seems like mission impossible as he continues to be linked with the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan. The Gabonese striker may finally make a move if he ends the season without a meaningful achievement to look back on this season despite being the club captain all season. The former Dortmund striker has become the fastest player to hit 50 goals in an Arsenal shirt, in 83 appearances.


For all that it is worth, the club must try hard to keep their starman to get close to winning anything and Arteta should sure know better than let him leave. Arsenal are still in competition for a place for the Europa League and could still win the FA cup if they manage to get the better of Man City who on the strength of their lofty standards will want to forget this season despite most likely finishing second behind Liverpool and have already won the Carabao cup.

There are too many question marks than answers on what the future portends for the Gunners but they can be certain of a bleaker future if they fail to record any serious achievement come the end of July.

Chelsea And Leceister Drop Points As Top Four Race Heats Up

The battle for the champions league places in the English top flight looks very exciting at the moment after Chelsea and Leceister City dropped all three points against West Ham and Everton respectively.

Chelsea had opened the scoring at the London stadium from a penalty well taken by Willian after Christian Pulisic was brought down by Issa Diop in the Hammers penalty area. West Ham got back into the game not too long after and just before half time when Bowen’s cross found Slavia Prague loanee Soucek who powered a towering header into the net.

Bowen also supplied another assist to Michail Antonio who tapped in from close range to give the Hammers the lead six minutes into the second half.

Prior to this game, Willian had not scored against West Ham but he doubled his tally on the night with a sweetly struck free kick from 20 yards out to bring Chelsea back into the game.

Unlike the game at Aston Villa, there was no comeback for Chelsea as Andry Yarmalenko’s finished from a late counter attack condemned Chelsea to their first defeat since the return of football.

The last time Chelsea were defeated by a three goal margin was at home to Bayern Munich in the Champions League before the suspension of football and they could not win the much needed points against the Hammers who would be very happy to win all three points in their bid to avoid relegation.

For all that their season is worth, Leicester City will be licking their wounds after they have blown open the race for the top three finish. Jamie Vardy failed to get onto the scores sheet for the fourth match since the Foxes resumed their Premier League campaign.

Once looking destined for the Champions League next season, successive dropping of points have seen their position being open up to a challenge from teams outside the top four at the moment.

Their latest defeat also came on the same night Chelsea lost. Early goals from Richarlisson and Sigurdsson just before the twenty minutes condemned them to defeat despite Kelechi Ihenacho’s 51’st minute strike offered a glimmer of hope for the Foxes.

Manchester United and Wolverhampton will be delighted with the results considering that they picked up all three points against Brighton and Bournemouth while still keeping clean sheets. It all makes for an interesting end to the season with both teams two points away from fourth spot and three from the third spot.

Very few can bet against the Red Devils have they have looked comfortable in victories against Sheffield and Brighton, teams they would struggle to beat some few months ago. Their fixture list does not look bad either and the confidence in the team looks really high at the moment.

Wolves also have a very easy fixture list and will also be challenging quietly as they have been doing for a couple of matches now. All in all, the top four battle is wide open to all four of the teams but only the best teams will rise in the end.